As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Anike Oliver!
Read the Q&A below to learn more about Anike.
- Primary Role: High School math teacher.
- Pronouns: She/Her
- Years at GDS: Anike taught at GDS 2001–06. Now she’s halfway into her seventh year—her second since returning to GDS.
What do you love about GDS?
What I love about GDS is how the philosophy of the school aligns with my personal and educational beliefs. My beliefs in education were formulated at GDS 20 years ago when I started my career teaching here for the first time. I believe in the school's mission and I strive to uphold it with a standard of excellence.
Why do you teach?
As cliché as it may sound, I teach to change the world. I want to make a difference in society through educating students in mathematics. Arguably, math is the most underrated subject in American education. My hope is that my students will see the value in learning mathematics. I believe that if you can do math, you can do anything. I also believe that anyone can do math. Even if you never practice or work in a math-related field, the skills that you learn to be successful in mathematics are transferable to any field, and that is the beauty of mathematics.
A favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of teaching is seeing students realize they can do advanced math. I know what it is like for students to dislike mathematics or to have math anxiety. It is so beautiful to see students overcome their anxiety or to simply accept the challenge and learn a level of perseverance that is common among students who have already found success in math.
Your teaching style in three words?
Facilitator. Coach. Motivator.
Other GDS activities or roles that community members may not know about?
Member of SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity); member of the GDS Equitable Compensation Project Committee; organizer of GDS's first annual retreat for CROWNS (Black non-male affinity group); make-up artist consultant for the fall show and spring musical; and session presenter for GDS’s High School Social Justice Teach-In Day; member of principal search committee; and a GDS math tutor, specializing in working with girls of color.
A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
I hope that students leave my class with an appreciation for mathematics. They don't have to "fall in love" with the subject, but I want them to understand that its value lies in everything we will ever see or do.
My bio on the GDS website captures it best, I think: "...a professional makeup artist. Anike enjoys art, music—specifically hip hop, R&B, and jazz—contemporary dance—specifically Afrobeats and other contemporary West African dance forms—and open mic poetry. Whether traveling to enjoy international Caribbean carnival or just spending time with friends and family over Sunday dinner, she loves connecting with people."
Please tell us about a favorite of yours...
My favorite recipe includes anything made with brown butter and bourbon, especially desserts. I'm obsessed, and, now, so is the High School Math Department. Ask them about my brown butter bourbon pecan chocolate chip cookies!
Tell us about your family and/or pets.
I have a son who is 13 years old and a lot of extended family. A lot. I believe love makes a family. I have so much family—too much even to introduce.
One thing about yourself your students/colleagues/others probably don't know?
I am an extroverted introvert. I love being social and attending social events, but I require time to recharge if you expect me to show up as the life of the party.
One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
I have visited Africa three times. I have been to Lagos, Nigeria—twice—and Capetown, South Africa once. I plan to visit Kenya this Spring Break where I’ll get to visit my mom, who I haven’t been able to see since the start of COVID-19.
One thing on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
To travel to and visit at least three countries in every continent except Antarctica. Antarctica is just way too cold to visit three times!
With a tip from Anike, we reached out to hear what a colleague had to say...
Anike’s GDS mentor, first grade teacher Paula Young Shelton, said, “Anike is a talented, dynamic, and passionate educator who approaches everything she does with enthusiasm and determination. Her positive energy is contagious and she makes those around her, students and colleagues alike, want to do better.”